Created by Premier Leslie Frost’s government, in response to the need for improved hospital care in Ontario, the Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan grew out of the 1956 Hospital Services Commission of Ontario Act. The Ontario Hospital Services Commission took the necessary steps of studying the problems of creating hospital insurance for Ontario, consulting with professional bodies such as the Canadian Medical Association and then making recommendations to the provincial government based on its findings.
After much tailoring to satisfy the interests of all groups, the Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan was implemented by provincial law on January 1, 1959. It was a public hospitalization insurance plan funded through compulsory premiums and provincial and federal contributions. When it started, it provided 91 per cent of Ontarians with coverage that included hospital care for treatment of physical illness, mental illnesses and tuberculosis at monthly premiums of $1.20 per individual and $4.20 per family. However, the plan did not provide out-patient diagnostic services or treatment, due to opposition from the medical profession. Ultimately, the plan proved to be highly successful, with 94 per cent of the population enrolled by 1960.